/ Unified Communications

Why Unified Communications Are Key For Your 2019 Customer Service Strategy

Each year, we are presented with more sophisticated tools for mapping out the customers’ experience and developing a better understanding of their purchasing journey. Through innovative technologies such as machine learning and big data analysis, brands have realized the importance of letting the customer set the terms of the interactions.

Unified Communications allows for the seamless integration of enterprise communication services, such as voice and video calling, live web chat and cobrowsing, with non-real-time communication tools, for a unified customer experience across multiple devices and media platforms. According to Forrester, 72% of businesses prioritize the improvement of the customer experience. If you fall under that number, then you are probably aware that, in 2019, this requires a focus on not only the quality of the product being offered, but also on the delivery of exceptional customer service. Here are some of the main reasons why implementing a UC solution will help you improve your new-year customer service strategy:

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Source: Cisco/ TechTarget

1. Enhancing multichannel customer service

Customers nowadays rarely limit their purchasing journey to just one online platform. ’Research online, purchase offline’ has become a common practice for consumers, especially regarding high-value items. Within the automotive industry, for instance, 2/3 of the customers decide on the make, model and price of the vehicle they wish to purchase even before they have visited a dealership. However, this trend has led to the fracturing of the customer journey, making the process of analyzing their online behavior more complex.

Unified Communications enable agents to support the customer regardless of the platform they are currently on. Unlike legacy communication systems, the UC technology enables customer experiences which are seamless and personalised. 2019 will most likely see the further development of Social Shopping, with networking platforms introducing new features for businesses to integrate within their online marketing strategies. UC can enhance the opportunities for connectivity offered by these platforms by combining social media and website interactions, allowing agents to redirect a customer from one communication channel to another when necessary.

2. Leveraging the power of mobility

Today’s tech-savvy customers interact with brands twice more on mobile than on any other device. What’s more, Forerster’s Mobile Web study predicted that, in 2018, smartphones will be used in over 1/3 of total U.S. retail sales- in either the research, price comparison or purchase stages. The ability to engage in voice and video interactions through a mobile device will therefore become an essential feature for both customers and agents. Enabling UC features such as Instant Messaging for mobile users will therefore be an essential part of a satisfactory customer experience. In addition, mobile communication provides agents with greater flexibility and improves their efficiency in responding to customer queries when they are away from the office.

3. Improved productivity within the customer service center

Providing good customer service depends on the efficient communication between agents from various departments. The basic premise of the UC technology is to enable the seamless interactions within enterprises. With its ‘Presence’ feature, UC delivers information on agents’ availability across all communication platforms, which is then delivered to end users or applications. By allowing agents to contact the company’s subject-matter experts (SMEs) regardless of their location, the technology enables prompt and accurate responses to be provided to customers.
Contact center supervisors can integrate a UC solution within their existing CRM system, for a comprehensive report on customers’ online buying journey. Enabling the effective communication between customers and industry experts streamlines the interactions while improving satisfaction and repeat purchase rates.

Learn More: Customer retention- 5 ways to keep shoppers coming back for more

4. Enabling the shift towards Predictive CX

With personalisation becoming the norm rather than the exception, businesses are looking for more innovative ways of analysing the customer experience, to proactively modify their strategies for lead generation and engagement. 2019 will be the year when solutions such as Predictive Analytics become integral for businesses looking to identify their customers’ future needs and purchasing behaviors.
When it comes to customer service interactions, 87% of customers want to be contacted proactively by a company. Combine this trend with clients’ expectations for high-touch, multi-channel interactions, and businesses are facing an even bigger challenge to maintain the quality of their customer service. Unified Communications help alleviate some of this pressure. Implementing web (voice) and video calling solutions alongside traditional telephony systems allows for agents to gather a comprehensive account of the customers’ buying journey, that can then be used to make predictions on their future purchasing behaviors. Predictive CX is a great solution for many businesses struggling to link their marketing and customer retention strategies to key performance indicators, such as customer retention and staff efficiency.

5. Establish long-lasting customer relationships

Customers in 2019 are aware of how valuable their personal data is to companies looking to improve their marketing and sales strategies. For that reason, they expect a personalized, high-touchpoint customer service every time they contact your business. What’s more, 71% of the US consumers consider impersonal brand interactions as frustrating and are likely to refrain from making any future purchases. A UC-enhanced contact center allows agents to escalate a conversation from live web chat, to voice or video web call, making for a more personal and efficient communication that strengthens the customer-brand relationship. The employment of solutions for real-time communication allows for agents to create a comprehensive customer profile by gathering data across multiple platforms.

6. Improving responsiveness and First Call Resolution rates

While customers do enjoy the novelty of the various new methods for online communication, what they appreciate the most is getting a prompt and competent response from a brand representative!

Unified Communications can improve not only the responsiveness of agents, but also the overall quality of communication. Voice interactions are made much clearer and natural-sounding with the use of HD (wideband) audio, eliminating misunderstandings and capturing more content during the conversation, such as details about the customer’s past purchases, their product preferences, needs and pain points. Agents can therefore communicate with a customer from any device, without having to compromise on the quality of interactions. By facilitating collaboration amongst agents and improving the quality of interactions, Unified Communications allow for issues to be easily resolved from the first interaction- a prerequisite for a satisfied, loyal customer.

Overall…

2019 will be the year when we witness the increased digitization of the interactions between customers and businesses. For that reason, it is essential that your enterprise combines the capabilities of various communication channels, in order to provide a satisfactory customer experience. Here are our main takeaways on how Unified Communications will help redefine the quality of your customer interactions in 2019:

  1. Customers rely on brands to provide a multi-platform shopping experience- Unified communications will empower your customer service agents to respond to customer queries across multiple online platforms.

  2. Implementing UC solutions for mobile will help businesses engage with customers across mobile devices.

  3. Unified Communications support the modernization of the contact centers by leveraging the opportunities for cross-department communication and increasing agents’ efficiency.

  4. Predictive analytics, empowered by Unified Communications, will be key for providing proactive customer service and identifying the customers’ needs and buying behaviors.

  5. Personalisation will continue to be the most valued aspect of customer service- a solution for real-time communication can cultivate loyalty amongst your customer and build stronger relationships.

  6. Despite the exciting technology innovations, don’t forget that customers put their trust into brands that are responsive and keep showing up- Unified Communications can help improve agents’ efficiency when it comes to handling customer requests.

What is your opinion on the use of Unified Communications in 2019? Do you think good customer service is dependent solely on the quality of communications or is there another factor worth considering? Let us know your thoughts!